Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mountain of clothes shrinks to hill in city's bargain hunt

Colourful artwork promoting the Classifieds.
TWO glorious two days must go down in haggling history for Redland City bargain hunters  − courtesy of the Bulletin Classifieds.
Last weekend the new Bulletin, continuing the tradition of the two papers it represents, delivered a memorable line-up of notices that garage sale and market addicts could not afford to miss.
Readers scarcely had time to top up their cash reserves as they trod the greasy floors and strolled the market aisles.

THE big headliner, of course, was the Monster Drought Relief Garage Sale, a joint project of the city's Rotary clubs and this newspaper's publisher, Fairfax Media, but the action continued with a feast of special buy-sell events, all supporting good causes.
Cleveland Baptist Church, Bloomfield St, again held its Saturday market, Wellington Point Trinity Uniting Church chimed in with a carboot sale and Birkdale South Children's Centre gamely scheduled twilight markets during a cold snap, apparently knowing a good bargain is the best winter warm-up.

THIS bargain hunter was press-ganged to the other side of the tressle to help a family member who rounded up all the unused clothing of the females in the clan for a market stall.
Such a clean-out of the wardrobes and cupboards seems a good way to free up storage space and ease the conscience over previous bad purchasing decisions, as many items still had the original price tags.
'Team Clean-out' opted for simplicity, piling everything onto a table, providing old supermarket bags with a sign offering, “Fill a bag, $10”, and reducing the price every few hours as the best items were sold and the clothing mountain shrank to a hill.
It is unknown at time of writing whether the distribution of the earnings needs to go before the court as the accounting seemed a bit loose.

ONE advantage of selling at markets or carboot sales is that vendors don't need to fear a procession of strangers at their homes − which worries many people.
Such events also promise to attract browsers and perhaps lift the sales rate.
However, the convenience of the garage sale, without the hassles of packing, carrying, parking, unpacking and cleaning up at a remote site, will always be a plus. Nevertheless, serious planning is always necessary.

THE Bulletin Classifieds are the definitive guide for Redland City bargain hunters.
It's just so easy to get the street names off the printed page, punch them into the GPS or check the directory maps and merrily cruise the sales each Saturday.
The listings also feature at for those who prefer a paperless guide.
Don't forget − the launch of the new Wednesday Bulletin has meant an important change in timing for placement of garage sale notices. See the notice in this edition.

Hundreds of smiles warm up winter in vibrant city

EVERYONE gets the chance to make new year's resolutions on January 1 but business has a special opportunity each July.
The winter sunshine with a bite of chill in the air – and a meeting with accountant or tax agent high on the agenda – is a good platform for improvements and reforms.
Business of all types can be a bit like gardening, where during the dead of winter one pays attention to important details before the warmth of spring.
Redland City has experienced an early flush of new growth this winter with the
launch of the Redland City Bulletin, combining the best features of the long-serving
Bayside Bulletin
and Redland Times to service the vibrant urban and rural community that is based on a precious environmental asset, the Moreton Bay region.

THE Fairfax Media team that has planned the reform deserves congratulations for retaining the local papers' traditions, while emphasising the role in servicing the changing communities of interest that make up a modern city.
It was pleasing to see the faces of more than 200 people, mostly Redland City residents, feature in the editorial pictures of the first edition, excluding the eight-page wraparound feature that documented the reform.
After dozens of papers of hard news and special features supporting city enterprises, it was just as delightful to get the burst of colour in the Trades Services pages and then the first edition of the Redland City Bulletin Classifieds.

THE 'old' always mixes with the 'new' in the Classifieds, and the cultural mix will always draw keen eyes.
One of the most visited pages at tells of the “treasure hunt” of classified advertising, which offers special opportunities.
A buyer found a top-range Westinghouse fridge at a bargain price after Julie Smith of Ormiston used a picture of the fridge in her ad for that special edition of the new Bulletin. Please note: The fridge wasn't smiling too.
Julie and her family came from the UK 15 years ago for the Redland lifestyle, so they have witnessed the district's change – and she says they have no regrets.
They have been preparing to move to a new Ormiston home, where the fridge would be too big for the kitchen bay.

NEVILLE Russell of Thornlands advertised for a Raby Bay pontoon for a 38ft boat he is about to bring from Tasmania – and received an offer.
Neville says he has hired a skipper to sail the Huon pine boat, Islander II, to the bay; he is considering getting aboard at Coffs Harbour.
The Classifieds are a place for people who get out there and do things in their lives. That will remain the same, regardless of the packaging.

This has been the first Classie Corner in the new Redland City Bulletin.

No one wants to be caught with their RAM down

COMPUTERS – how we love to hate them. Before you rush to get an end of financial year special on a new box, think about how you may get more out of your existing system.
Interest-free deals can be enticing but the power and speed of the latest models may be unnecessary for users who will never go beyond basics of email and text-based fiddling, viewing and editing an image occasionally and researching websites for senior citizen entitlements.
Computer sales staff have a mission to 'hard sell' an upgrade or two and prey on insecurities of anyone with a hint of computer phobia.
Obviously, no one wanted to be caught with their RAM down but memory upgrades may not be warranted.

THIS warning comes from my shopping for a dongle to put free-to-air TV on my screen. The salesman tried to bundle in a gigabyte or two of RAM but I read the box which said it would run on less than a quarter of what he told me.
It's 35 years since I first sat at a computer keyboard and my heritage in a country noted for thriftiness has previously featured in this space.
Today, I look past the commercial 'big boys' and into nooks and crannies of the computing universe to try to save a buck.
That's why I recently installed the free operating system Ubuntu after the XP fiasco pushed me toward a future with less dependence on Microsoft.
And it's why I always browse the Computers columns of the Classifieds, where a recent notice has announced the services of Rescue Reporting, a new business founded by Andrew Swanborough.

ANDREW doesn't share my distaste for the computing mainstream because it provides a platform for his enterprise helping small businesses save money by getting more out of their existing systems.
The field is called software development, and Andrew's goal is “to decrease the administrative overhead”.
“I automate computing tasks that would otherwise need to be done manually,” he says. “Every modern business keeps records digitally but often when it becomes time for an internal review or to present this data to a third party stakeholder a considerable amount of tweaking, reformatting and calculating needs to be done.
“This is the kind of work computers were made for, there is no need for a human to spend hours
when a computer can do it in seconds.
“The kind of solution I deliver will be tailor made to mesh with your existing system, can often be delivered in only a few days and will cost you about as much as if you paid someone to do it manually.”
Andrew is available for EOFY consultations.

This column  appeared in The Redland Times before the launch of its successor the Redland City Bulletin.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Coochie club makes waves on Moreton Bay

Coochie nippers line up beside glorious Moreton Bay. Image courtesy
THE long-standing Queensland obsession with the surf probably made a few eyebrows rise at a recent public notice for one of the most important bayside and island community groups.
The lack of surf on Moreton Bay has been no hindrance to the evolution of a very active surf life saving club.
Coochiemudlo Surf Life Saving Club in fact has been 'club of the year' in the movement's south coast district.
The benefit of the 'stillwater' has helped the Coochie club develop swimming skills better than  many clubs on surf beaches, president Lance Price says.
“The surf beaches tend to get so rough that the swimmers can't get out in it,” he says. “We don't have that problem, so our members, especially the young ones, have a very good training environment.”

LANCE says the club, which had only about 10 members when it affiliated with the national surf live saving movement in 1996, is going from strength to strength and now has about 265 members.
“We have a very large contingent of nippers,” he says. “On any Sunday during the season we have close to 200 of them on the beach.
“Most of those come from the Redlands' mainland suburbs; only 10 to 15 of our nippers actually live on the island.”
The bay location means members don't have the task of rescuing swimmers from rips but Lance says emergencies do occur and the club's first-aid services are busy.
He says the club has about 50 patrolling members, with the ranks continually fed by teenagers qualifying for their surf rescue certificates.

“THE club is very strong in the national first-aid competitions,” he says. “Six members went to Perth last season for the nationals competing in the under-16, under-17 and open divisions.
“The best we got was a fourth but that's a national ranking and we think that's pretty good.”
Lance, who has been a club member for about eight years and captain for the past five, was elected as president at the annual general meeting last Saturday.
He said about 30 members attended and there was some lively discussion as the club was keen to “keep up with the times and keep moving ahead”.
A recent appointment to Surf Life Saving Queensland led the former president Des Kerr to stand down, Lance says.
The club invites new members, saying: “Apart from the benefits of health, fitness, friendship, competition, knowledge, leadership and being able to put something back into the community, there are always lifesaving awards to be gained, with the majority of these awards now nationally recognised.”

This column appeared in The Redland Times before the launch of its successor, the Redland City Bulletin.

'Luddite' suffers without computers, mobile phones

Image: An 1812  reward poster for Luddite attacks in the Leeds area - courtesy fellow bloggers at

THE  term “Luddite”, originating from anti-machinery protesters in 19th century England, has found a new life in the computer age to describe those who resist technology.
It's often said with  curled lips, raised eyebrows or a shrug of distaste but a certain Ormiston man  wears it like a badge of honour.
The man and his wife are now in their seventies. They refuse to get a computer or even a mobile phone.
Bob, asking for his surname to be withheld, talked yesterday about their increasing difficulty in day-to-day life.
“We are increasingly marginalised – there are so many things you can't do – and I guess we are getting a chip on each shoulder,” he said.
“You can't get a letter published in the paper because they get them by computer and turn them over on the website and you can't even get the arrival time of a plane over the phone any more.
“The only contact with a lot of companies and services appears to be by computer.”

BOB was scornful of “anti-social networking” because he said the better form of communication was face to face – “and we are losing a lot of that”.
He said he had briefly used computers in the early 1990s when working as a counsellor with a federal government agency.
“We used to sit down with the people and get to know them but as soon as computers came in we were staring into the screen all the time and not talking to the people anymore,” he said.
Bob admitted that with four daughters, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren he often faced family pressure to catch up with technology.
However, he was adamant that he would not change. With the hope of solace with like-minded folk, he sometimes thought about starting a  “Luddite club”, he said.
Bob was disappointed that his faith in the traditional newspaper Classifieds was not rewarded with a sale for the telescope he advertised.

THE Lumina 200x and collection of 60 hardcover books on astronomy and space exploration, at an asking price of $150, had not attracted a call, he said.
“The telescope was my grandson's but he quickly lost interest and the books belonged to a friend who had a stroke,” Bob said.
He said he had contacted an astronomy group to see if they would be interested, especially in the sizable book collection, but did not receive a call back.
In closing, Bob issued a word of warning to mobile phone users, quoting a neurosurgeon's suspicions about a possible link with tumours around the ear.
And he said the federal budget was another of his current concerns as it did nothing for the environment but seemed to add up to more freeways and more cars.

This colum  appeared in The Redland Times before the launch of its successor the Redland City Bulletin.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

In memory of Millie, Tenterfield terrier

THE silver lining in the dark cloud; an opportunity from a missed deadline.
 A pet food company just ran a contest for images of dogs. This gem was hiding in a back-up disk and poked its nose out of the cuddly comfort of obscurity too late to enter the competition. 
Now it remains as a special treat for readers of this site, which from time to time has documented my love of Tenterfield terriers since my family obtained one of the lovable little creatures from the Classifieds.
 Millie, pictured, was a Tenterfield cross who danced on her back legs, befriended the neighbourhood cats and birds – particularly the curlews – and helped me collect sticks for the backyard campfires. 
Sadly, I report she is with us no more, but this image of her as a little puppy brings back happy memories of a great little mate. 
My posts about Tenterfield terriers are the most visited on this site and I am sure this lovely picture will be of interest. 
Next post: Back to business in the Classifieds – coming soon!